|Australian artillery in action, Greece, April 1941. AWM|
After holding up the German advance from Lamia to the Sperkios River the previous day, the 22nd April would see the Australian gunners - with two guns - suffer incoming artillery shelling and the advance of the German infantry - over an 8 hour battle.
Despite holding back the infantry with direct line of sight barrages, the Australian guns would be destroyed or disabled by late afternoon.
The Australian commander - Lieutenant Anderson from Brighton in Victoria - stayed with his men until the last gun as disabled. Along with Sergeant Ingram, formerly a physical trainer from Albert Park and Sergeant Lees, formerly a butcher from Prahran, Anderson was able to get one of the disabled guns to operate.
The German guns now opened fire with deadly accuracy. One man was killed and another wounded on the hillside some distance above the guns; then, at the guns, five men were killed and three wounded, one fatally, leaving only eight men unwounded, including Anderson.
At dusk, after the wounded men had been carried out, Lieutenant Anderson and Gunner Brown, a former tram conductor from Coburg,returned to the guns and brought away the sights and striker mechanism, and the discs and pay books of the dead. These brave Australian gunners had held up the German advance for two days.
The defence of the Thermopylae Pass was left to Barrowclough's New Zealand 6th Brigade.The four companies of the New Zealand 25th Battalion were in position overlooking the road and the river, the New Zealand 24th Battalion astride the road at Ayia Trias, and the New Zealand 26th Battalion in rear of it astride the road at Molos . Seven artillery regiments (four field, one medium, and two anti-tank) were in support—a formidable array.
Forward were sixty men of the New Zealand 22nd on the left of the main position, sixty of the New Zealand 23rd Battalion at the bridge over the Sperkios River and the carriers of the New Zealand 5th Brigade which were to patrol the flats north of the road at night.
On the night of the 22nd the New Zealand 5th Brigade, having destroyed much of its heavy gear, moved to Ayia Konstantinos, and the New Zealand 4th Brigade to the covering position at Erithrai .
Meanwhile, 23 Allied vessels are sunk by German air attacks over the 21-22nd April and in Athens Allied
General Wilson issues the orders for withdrawal from Greece.
Australian Unit Locations - 22nd April
16th Brigade HQ - Brallos
17th Brigade HQ - Kalivia Ano
19th Brigade HQ - Brallos
2/1st Battalion - Lamia
2/2nd Battalion - Kanlini
2/3rd Battalion -Amficklia
2/4th Battalion - Brallos
2/5th Battalion - Brallos
2/6th Battalion - Thermopylae
2/7th Battalion - Brallos
2/8th Battalion - Amfiklia
2/11th Battalion - South of Brallos
2/1st Machine Gun Battalion - Annakleva
Thanks to Paul Sougleris of Greek Anzacs for his information on unit locations drawn from the official unit dairies.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee
& Member, Battle of Crete and the Greek Campaign Commemorative Council